Winterize Your Salads

Take advantage of the bounty of gorgeous greens and fabulous fresh fruits and veggies that nature naturally provides this time of year. Keep salads on your plate all year long.

Are you like most folks who tend to think of salads as a summer “thing”? It’s certainly true we eat them more when the weather is hot, but you’ll be happy to know how easy and satisfying it is to prepare winter salads, even warm winter salads. Combining an assortment of fresh seasonal ingredients makes a winter salad so appealing, and a good fresh salad is always a nice accompaniment to a heavy holiday meal.When building a winter salad, keep in mind the bounty of gorgeous greens and fabulous fresh fruits and veggies that nature naturally provides at this time of year, and remember salads don’t always have to be completely raw. Cooked grains, beans and vegetables tossed with lighter raw fruits and vegetables make interesting, tasty winter salads. Here are some suggestions for “winterizing” your favorite salad:

  • Add currants, dried cranberries and other dried fruits to salads.

  • Add roasted pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.

  • Top with olives and shaved aged cheese.

  • Toss in grapes, diced apples or pears, and sections of oranges and grapefruits.

  • Lightly steam or sauté winter veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale and cauliflower to use as a salad base.

  • Add steamed or roasted root veggies such as beets, rutabaga, parsnips and turnips.

  • Toss hot cooked whole grains and legumes with raw, grated winter veggies and fruits; eat warm.

Hearty greens such as kale and Swiss chard are delicious in winter salads; they can be marinated for tenderness and greater flavor. Here’s how:

  • 1 bunch kale or Swiss chard

  • 2 TB walnut, olive or grape seed oil

  • 2 TB fresh lemon or lime juice, or favorite vinegar

  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

  • Raw honey, grated fresh ginger, prepared Dijon mustard (optional)

  1. Remove and discard the stems from kale or chard leaves. Wash and slice leaves into small strips; transfer to a large bowl. (It will look like a lot but they shrink when marinating.)

  2. Whisk all remaining salad dressing ingredients together and pour over greens.

  3. Using your hands, massage the greens, kneading and breaking down the fibers to allow the leaves to absorb the flavors of the marinade.

  4. Let the greens sit and marinate before serving.

And here are some wonderful winter salad ideas using fresh, seasonal ingredients:

Do you weather the winter with hearty, seasonal salads? Got a favorite? Let me know!

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